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Women as Leaders: The Importance of Mindset

Categories: Women in Business

womanasleaderIn my last blog I shared my thoughts on women as leaders in the corporate world -- and reviewed some of the reasons why there are fewer women in leadership roles than men. You can read this blog here.

This time around, I want to focus on the importance of mindset.

Women account for 48 percent of the U.S. workforce. According to the 2011 Catalyst Census, Fortune 500 Women Executive Officers and Top Earners, in 2011, women held a mere 14.1 percent of Executive Officer positions at Fortune 500 companies and an even smaller 7.5 percent of Executive Officer top earner positions.

Anyone would have to agree that this is a pretty huge disparity. It’s easy to throw blame -- at the “old boys club,” at the economy, at our patriarchal society that’s afraid of women’s power, etc...

But owning up to your own limiting beliefs, and taking a good look at what you gain by holding them (excuses not to try and then fail, perhaps?), can be the start of something new.

One of the main qualities of leadership is accountability, and blame and accountability cannot co-exist in the same mindset. They are diametrically opposed.

So, why don’t we focus on practical, professional development strategies women can use to advance -- if that's what they want.

Developing a mindset of accountability is probably step number one.

When you are accountable, you know that it is you and you alone who is responsible for your success. This is an empowering and courageous way of perceiving yourself and your world. From this place, the practical steps you take to move ahead will bear fruit, and show you what you need to change, learn, and grow.

A study of 80 top female leaders, conducted by Roslyn Courtney Consulting, showed that the qualities of leadership were present in these women long before they had any “big” jobs.

Here are some of the common denominators for these women:

  • They volunteered to try and solve difficult problems within their companies.
  • They looked for, and found, opportunities to contribute, above and beyond their pay grades.
  • They all felt strongly committed to making a difference.
  • They developed and shared ideas to advance the business.
In other words, they were not shrinking violets. They were focused on what they wanted to give and share, not why they weren’t getting what they felt they deserved.

Do you see the difference in mindset?

If you have a lot to share, if you secretly believe you could be an innovator, a leader, a thought leader ... if you know you can handle more responsibility and take on greater challenges -- don’t keep that a secret!

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